A wooden footbridge leading to the beach

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Spotlight on LBK’s Newest Park

Longboat Key’s premier park is one of the most beloved places on the island, and not just because of the three—count ’em three—pickleball courts. No, these nine acres set right on the water are dedicated to sports and recreation of all kinds, and they host the facilities and amenities to prove it.

So what is pickleball? Aside from being LBK’s signature pastime, it’s a cross between regular tennis and table tennis, taking place on a 20-by-44-foot court instead of a regulation-size tennis one. The net is a bit lower, and instead of a racket, you hit the ball with paddles.  And if you want to catch a match in action, you’ll go straight to Bayfront Park, where you’re likely to join in yourself. As they say, “when in Rome.”

After an extensive revamping funded by the community, Bayfront Park reopened to much fanfare in 2017. Along with pickleball courts, it offers tennis and basketball courts, shuffleboard, a playground, picnic areas, a biking and jogging path and a fishing pier. There’s even a dog park. In short, it has everything you could possibly want in a recreational park and more. You can launch your own kayak here or rent one from Happy Paddler Kayak Tours & Ecoventures, which operates right in the park.

If you want to stay connected you can—there’s WiFi throughout the park. And if you have an event on the horizon, rent out the pavilion. The site’s recreation center offers a variety of fitness classes as well as educational and cultural ones, and it can be reserved for events too.

Bayfront Park is one the Key’s most community-centric spaces, a place where sport and leisure come together in a beautiful setting. And there’s pickleball.